leotard rankings

Leotard Rankings: USAG Nationals and the NCGA

The criteria is a little different this season as we tweak some of our point totals to better analyze the designs. There will be up to three points for design, up to one point each for fabric and sparkle, school spirit and uniqueness and up to three points for overall appearance. This week Katie W, Katherine and Rebecca are joining Elizabeth to help judge.

SEMO: 8.075


For more views of the design, click here.

Elizabeth: 7.800

Design 2.4/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.4/3

I love this a lot. The design is flattering on all the gymnasts, the black is classy, and the red accents tie the whole thing together perfectly. It’s an elevated look for SEMO, and it works well.

Katherine: 8.300

Design 2.7/3, Fabric 0.5/1, Sparkle 1/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2.6/3

The front isn’t the most unique, but the back more than makes up for it; it’s very dynamic with the logo and the team name. Like Elizabeth said, it’s really flattering, and I also love the various red accents. Props to the seniors for designing it!

Katie: 7.600

Design 2.3/3, Fabric  .8/1, Sparkle .8/1, School Spirit .8/1, Uniqueness .6/1, Overall Appearance 2.3/3

This leotard may not be as unique as others, but the design works so well. I absolutely love the addition of RedHawks on the back with the bird logo. It has the perfect amount of mesh that fits with the SEMO colors. 

Rebecca: 8.600

Design 2.6/3, Fabric 0,5/1, Sparkle 1/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.8/3

This one’s both bold and elegant, and I really like it. It’s rare to see colored sparkles that are easily visible from a distance, especially over black fabric, but there’s no missing the red in this one.

Texas Woman’s: 7.125


Elizabeth: 6.900

Design 2.0/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.1/3

Texas Woman’s always has good leos, and this design is no different. It’s not my all-time fave of the Pioneers’, but it’s still very solid, and I especially like the ombre sleeves. TWU normally goes for maroon and white, so it’s a nice change to see maroon and black here.

Katherine: 7.600

Design 2.2/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 1.0/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.2/3

I don’t know what it is about NCAA leos in this shade of maroon, but they all tend to utilize the same designs. That said, this felt as unique of a departure as we were going to get, and I like it just fine. The ombre mesh sleeves are a cool touch. 

Katie: 6.300

Design 1.7/3, Fabric .6/1, Sparkle .7/1, School Spirit .7/1, Uniqueness .7/1, Overall Appearance 1.9/3

I love the maroon color of this leo and the shine that comes off the bodice. While I wish the neckline was higher to limit the amount of mesh, I think overall it’s a solid choice. 

Rebecca: 7.700

Design 2.3/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.4/3

I really, really, really like the bodice design on this one. It’s unusually delicate for Texas Woman’s, and I appreciate the divergence from form. I’m also a big fan of the ombre sleeves, though the elbow design is a little odd. Definitely one of my favorites from the Pioneers.

Air Force: 6.525

Photos/@af_wgym Instagram Story

Elizabeth: 7.900

Design 2.5/3, Fabric 0.9/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.4/3

I actually love this a LOT. The white mesh gives it more of a delicate look than if that fabric had been solid. Plus, the white works really well with the black and subtle addition of royal blue, and the white design on the back almost looks like a Falcon feather. I’m surprised to say this is one of my favorite leos of the week. It’s not flashy, but it’s quietly great.

Katherine: 8.000

Design 2.2/3, Fabric 1/1, Sparkle 1/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.9/1, Overall Appearance 2.4/3

Something about this gives me elite leo vibes. Maybe for Great Britain or Australia, which is ironic considering this is an AIR FORCE leo. Anyway, it’s really nice! The front is very unique, and I love how it looks like a feather. I also love the way the sparkles are encrusted on the design. I would have liked to see the same colors on the back, but that’s a minor complaint. 

Katie: 6.800

Design 1.9/3, Fabric .8/1, Sparkle .7/1, School Spirit .6/1, Uniqueness .9/1, Overall Appearance 1.9/3

I feel like this is a leotard I’ll grow to love or hate, but I’m just not sure which one yet. I honestly love the right side of the leotard, but I’m not a fan of the shape design on the left. I do think the color combo works well together and the back is especially nice.

Rebecca: 3.400

Design 0.6/3, Fabric 0.2/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 0.4/3

No. Nope nope nope. Not happening for me. It’s retro in a bad way. I find it unflattering, and the white isn’t white enough to look white rather than beige in either this leotard or any of the videos I’ve seen—I wonder if they used a nude liner or something?

Air Force: 6.525

Elizabeth: 7.200

Design 2.0/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.9/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.0/3

I love the idea of this, but for some reason the mostly red body looks a little off with the blue and white ombre. I don’t know what it is, but I’ll get past it because in theory a red, white and blue ombre leo is just what I’ve always wanted. Maybe it doesn’t scream USA to me so much as Russia (in an elite gymnastics sense, don’t hunt me down, Air Force)? I can’t pinpoint it.

Katherine: 7.700

Design 2.0/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 1.0/1, Uniqueness 1.0/1, Overall Appearance 2.3/3

Oh hey, another elite-esque leo from Air Force. I don’t love V fronts like this, but I’ll forgive it for the overall uniqueness of the design and the way it all comes together. The blue and red are just contrasting enough that it works, and given the school spirit of wanting the American flag colors, it’s justifiable. This is a risk that paid off. 

Katie: 7.300

Design 2/3, Fabric .7/1, Sparkle .8/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness .8/1, Overall Appearance 2/3

I absolutely love the concept of this leotard and think it has so much potential. I just personally wish the red bodice and the red mesh matched. It really bothers me that the color is so different and it’s obvious because it’s right next to each other in the design. The design on the front combined with the school spirit almost makes up for the miscoloring of the red. 

Rebecca: 3.900

Design 0.7/3, Fabric 0.1/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.4/1, Uniqueness 1/1, Overall Appearance 0.9/3

The red is bewildering to me. Aren’t there usually rules about attire being primarily school colors apart from special events? I also don’t like high necks or fake-deep V shaping, so I’m not a fan of this one. (Editor’s note: Brand and color guidelines for uniforms are determined on a school-by-school basis.)

Gustavus Adolphus: 5.650

Elizabeth: 6.300

Design 1.8/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 1.8/3

This is pretty good, especially for Gustavus, who doesn’t have a big budget for flashy leos. I like all the sparkles, but the yellow collar and some of the mesh on the body aren’t my cup of tea.

Katherine: 5.300

Design 1.6/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.4/1, Overall Appearance 1.5/3

A high neck like this is one of my least favorite aspects on a leotard, so unfortunately that sort of ruins the design for me. Otherwise, the front design is OK, and it looks very cohesive alongside the back. I also like the diamond-encrusted wrists. 

Katie: 4.500

Design .7/3, Fabric .7/1, Sparkle .7/1, School Spirit .6/1, Uniqueness .9/1, Overall Appearance .9/3

I can’t get behind the design on this one. The sparkle strands with the mesh cut out is not a combination I’m enjoying. I give props to all gymnasts who compete with collar leos though because they just do not look comfortable at all. 

Rebecca: 6.500

Design 1.4/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 1/1, Overall Appearance 1.7/3

I love that the Gusties got a new leotard this year, and it’s such a FUNKY one, especially for a team that historically has had very plain designs. I like the use of gold and the sparkle distribution, though I always find inverted V shaping on the front very unflattering. While like Katherine I’m not a fan of high necks, in other photos this one doesn’t look high enough to be constricting or choker-like like my least favorites.

Lindenwood: 5.650


Elizabeth: 6.300

Design 1.5/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 0.6/1, Overall Appearance 2.0/3

This has so much potential to be good, but it just misses the mark for me. I love the gold, black and white combo, but there are a couple things I’d tweak to the individual elements. The gold band is a little too thick, and the flat/rounded neckline isn’t very flattering. The front in general is just kind of boring. I’d shrink the band some, move it up right where a bra would go and change the neckline to either a mini V or sweetheart.

Katherine: 5.700

Design 1.8/3, Fabric 0.5/1, Sparkle 0.5/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.4/1, Overall Appearance 1.9/3

The caption of “new look, same vibe” is pretty on point; this vibe is exactly the same as most other Lindenwood leos, so it’s not the most interesting. I actually like the flat neckline and the general color scheme, but it just feels pretty boring. One way to have upgraded it would have been to decorate the waistband with some sparkles.  

Katie: 5.700

Design 1.6/3, Fabric .5/1, Sparkle .6/1, School Spirit .7/1, Uniqueness .6/1, Overall Appearance 1.7/3

Flat necklines are a leotard breaker for me. I just can’t quite get behind them especially with the large contrast between the black bodice and white sleeves. I love the idea of the waist band, but would have to agree with Elizabeth that it’s just too thick in this instance. The potential is there, but it misses the mark in design decisions. 

Rebecca: 4.900

Design 1.2/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.2/1, Overall Appearance 1.5/3

What I typed in our #leotards chat on Slack when this leotard was released was “fine, boring,” and I stand by that. There’s nothing special going on here, and it’s not particularly flattering either, especially with the shaping funkiness in the underarm area, but it’s…fine. Not offensive. The use of white does make the gold pop, but that’s about all I can find to say about it.

READ THIS NEXT: Leotard Rankings: Regionals

Article by Elizabeth Grimsley, Katie Walsh, Katherine Weaver and Rebecca Scally

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